Faculty Listing

Dr. Cindi Smith-Walters

Professor | Director of MTSU Environmental Educ

Dr. Cindi Smith-Walters
615-898-5449
Room 1163, Science Building (SCI)
MTSU Box 60, Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Office Hours

MWF 7-7:30

MWF 12:30 - 3

Other hours by appointment

Degree Information

  • Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City (1988)
  • M.S., Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City (1984)
  • B.S., East Central College, MO (1978)

Areas of Expertise

Environmental education in both formal and informal settings; Science Teaching and Instructional Strategies; Learning; Evaluation and Assessment

Biography

Since 1993 the MTSU Environmental Education Center has garnered well over $4 million in grants and contracts to conduct environmental education programs and projects in Middle Tennessee. The Center works with both formal and informal educators, pre-service teachers, community members, and youth.

Publications

Contributor/evaluator of several international curriculum projects including project WILD, Project Learning Tree, and Project Aquatic WILD; Co-author of WILD SCHOOL SITES, a guide for developing habitat improvement projects on school grounds; Developed several curricula projects in-house dealing with endangered species of Tennessee, urban habitat improvement, science on the Murfreesboro City Square, etc.

Publications related to instruction. (Note: * Indicates student collaborations.) ...

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Contributor/evaluator of several international curriculum projects including project WILD, Project Learning Tree, and Project Aquatic WILD; Co-author of WILD SCHOOL SITES, a guide for developing habitat improvement projects on school grounds; Developed several curricula projects in-house dealing with endangered species of Tennessee, urban habitat improvement, science on the Murfreesboro City Square, etc.

Publications related to instruction. (Note: * Indicates student collaborations.)  

Mangione, K., Reid, J.*, Dorris*, A., Tharp, T., & Smith-Walters, C. Teaching English Language Learners through Inquiry, Approaches to Teaching the Content Areas to English Language Learners in Secondary Schools. de Oliveira, L.C, Obenchain, K., Kenney, R., & Olivei, A. (eds.)  (Accepted in Preparation)

Smith-Walters, C.  (In press).  Ecology: The way the world works.  In Rillero, P. & Eddis, S. (editors).  Mastering  the Science Content of the NES General Science Exam. Anthem, AZ: Independent Variable

Smith-Walters, C., Mangione, K., & Bass, A. (2016). Challenges in preparing preservice teachers for teaching science as a second language. Electronic Journal of Science Education Special Issue Vol 20 (No. 3)

Smith-Walters, C. & Barker, H.*  (2015).  Pre-service Teachers’ Self-Efficacy and Attitudes toward Learning and Teaching Science in a Content Course.  E. DeSilva (ed.) Cases on Research-Based Teaching Methods in Science Education, IGA Global, Hershey, PA.

Smith-Walters, C.  (2015). Visual Data with Pre-service Science Teachers: from awareness to application.  K. Finson & J. Pederson (eds.).  Application of Visual Data in K-16 Science Classrooms. Information Age Publishing (IAP), Charlotte, N.C.

Smith-Walters, C. (2014). “Get Up, Get Out, Find Out! Exploring nature with field guides”. M. L. Bentley & M. P. Mueller (eds.). Developing Environmental Awareness in Children: A nature studies guide for parents and educators. New York, Peter Lang.

Smith-Walters, C. “Diversity of Life”. C. Wilson (ed.) Passing the state elementary and middle school proficiency tests: Essential content for elementary and middle school (4-8) science teachers. University Press of America. Lanham, Maryland.

Smith-Walters, C. & Campbell, C., Take it outside! Making the most of your schoolyard.  Green Teacher. Summer 2014, 103

Smith-Walters, C., K. Hargrove, H. Hargrove. Extending the classroom: Tips for planning successful field trips. Science and Children, Summer 2014, 51(9).

Smith-Walters, C.  (2014).  The Inclusion of Environmental Education in Science Teacher Education. Manuscript submitted for publication. (Note: This article highlights the use of Project WILD, Learning Tree, WET, and other environmental education curricula in teacher preparation.)

Smith-Walters, C. “Biology Bits and Tips: how to get to the head of the class”. Wyman, P. (Ed.) Amazing Grades: 101 best ways to improve your grades faster. The Center for New Discoveries in Learning Incorporated, Las Vegas, Nevada, 1987. Pg. 85-87.

Smith-Walters, C. & Ambruster, C.  “Nature Journaling for Novices: finding your own Walden”. L. Zepp (Ed.) Tennessee Conservationist Magazine. Nashville, TN.  Nov/Dec. 2012. Pg. 12-16.

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Presentations

Presentations related to instruction. (Note: * Indicates student collaborations.)  

Owens, D.*, & Smith-Walters, C. (2017). Gamification and the Enhancement of Motivation to Learn Biology in  an Introductory Undergraduate Laboratory Course. NARST (accepted)

Reid, J. W.*, Smith-Walters, C., & Parrish, J.* (February 2, 2017). Plickers: A ‘new’ technology to benefit students and instructors. Rapid Talk Presentation given at...

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Presentations related to instruction. (Note: * Indicates student collaborations.)  

Owens, D.*, & Smith-Walters, C. (2017). Gamification and the Enhancement of Motivation to Learn Biology in  an Introductory Undergraduate Laboratory Course. NARST (accepted)

Reid, J. W.*, Smith-Walters, C., & Parrish, J.* (February 2, 2017). Plickers: A ‘new’ technology to benefit students and instructors. Rapid Talk Presentation given at the annual TN STEM Educational Research Conference, Murfreesboro, TN.

Napoleon-Fanis, V.*, Smith-Walters, C. (February 2, 2017). Reinforcing and Assessing Preservice Teachers  Science Content Knowledge using Alphabet Books. Rapid Talk Presentation given at the annual TN STEM  Educational Research Conference, Murfreesboro, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., Parrish, J.*, Reid, J. W. * Google, A.* (January 6, 2017). Population Education: Hands-on Activities for the Elementary Classroom. A workshop for elementary teachers.  Franklin, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., Parrish, J.*, Reid, J.*, Google, A.* (January 6, 2017). Population Education: Teaching for the  Global Family. A workshop for middle and high school teachers.  Franklin, TN.

Smith-Walters C., Hargrove, K., & Napoleon-Fanis, V.* (November 2016). Easy Avian ID in Your Schoolyard.  TN Science Teachers Association, Murfreesboro, TN.

Rogers, M., Dorris, A.*, & Smith-Walters, C. (November 2016).  Super Sleuths: Project WET.  TN Science Teachers Association, Murfreesboro, TN. 

Smith-Walters, C., Lanfear, A., & Napoleon-Fanis, V.* (October 4, 2016). Engaging and Supporting  Undergraduate Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory Students in the Acquisition of Specialized Vocabulary. Invited talk. MTSU/MSE Fall Seminar Series. Murfreesboro, TN.

Walters, D., Smith-Walters, C., Morgan, C., & Ervin, B. (September 24, 2016). Measuring STEM: Using Biltmore Sticks with your students. TN Environmental Education Association Fall Conference.  Land-Between-the-Lakes, Dover, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., Hargrove, K.  (September 24, 2016) Learn Your Birds: Easy ID for Home or School. TN Environmental Education Association Fall Conference.  Land-Between-the-Lakes, Dover, TN.

Lohr, M.E.*, Napoleon-Fanis, V.*, & Smith-Walters, C. (May 6, 2016) Mitosis Made Easy: Take it to Your  Classroom.  Mid-South Math Science Education Forum. Cookeville, TN

Napoleon-Fanis, V.*, Lohr, M.E.*, & Smith-Walters, C. (May 6, 2016) Meet BoB: Interactive Science Notebooks. Mid-South Math Science Education Forum. Cookeville, TN

Smith-Walters, C., Barker, H.* & Walters, D. (March, 2016). Bringing nature inside: A classroom investigation to develop science process skills. National Science Teachers Association, Nashville, TN.

Barker, H.* & Smith-Walters, C. (March 2016). Cellular Respiration: Reducing confusion through collaboration. National Science Teachers Association, Nashville, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., & Barker, H.*. (January, 2016). Thinking outside the box: A final exam using visual metaphors. Association of Science Teacher Educators. Reno, NV.

Barker, H. L.*, & Smith-Walters, C. (January, 2016). The influence of argumentative and collaborative discourse on pre-service teachers’ alternative conceptions in life science. Association of Science Teacher Educators. Reno, NV.

Smith-Walters, C., & Troelstrup, A.* A. (February, 2016).  Pass the plants, please! Elementary Integrated Curriculum Conference. Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN.  

Napoleon-Fanis, V.*, Lanfear, A., Smith-Walters, C. (November, 2015) Using word-sorts and concept maps to increase student engagement in anatomy and physiology I labs. Tennessee Academy of Science. Murfreesboro, TN.

Troelstrup, A.*, Lanfear, A., & Smith-Walters, C. (November, 2015) Does a modified think-pair-share strategy affect D-F-W raters in anatomy and physiology I lecture? Tennessee Academy of Science. Murfreesboro, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., Walters, D. (March, 2016) Trees of Tennessee. Tennessee Naturalist Program, Owls Hill Nature Center, Franklin, Tennessee.

Smith-Walters, C., Walters, D. (March, 2016) Reading the forest. Mansker’s Station Lecture Series. Goodlettsville, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., Walters, D. Naming is not knowing; using trees to teach. Tennessee Environmental Education Association.  Montgomery Bell State Park, Burns, TN.

Napoleon-Fanis, V.*, Lanfear, A., & Smith-Walters, C. Using Word Sorts, Picture Sorts, and Concept Word Sorts to Increase Student Engagement and Interest in and Anatomy and Physiology I Lab. Research poster Scholar’s Week 2015, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., & Barker, H. L.* (May, 2015).  Actively Learning about Kingdoms of Life. Tennessee Mathematics for Elementary Education and the Tennessee Science for Elementary Education. Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN.  

Barker, H. L.*, & Smith-Walters, C. (November 2014).  Promoting Effective Argumentative Discourse in Pre-service Teacher Education. Tennessee Science Teachers Association (TSTA). Murfreesboro, TN.

Owens, D.*, & Smith-Walters, C. (January. 2015). Pedagogical Content Knowledge through an Ecological Lens of Energy Flow: Using Next Generation Science Standards to Introduce PCK for Science.  The National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Pittsburgh, PA.

Smith-Walters, C., Walters, D. (March, 2014).  Forests of Tennessee, Tennessee Naturalist Program, Owls Hill Nature Center. Franklin, TN.

Smith-Walters, C. & Walters, D., (June, 2015), Using PLT in Novel Ways. International Project Learning Tree (PLT) Conference. PLT. Deadwood, South Dakota.

Barker, H. L.*, & Smith-Walters, C. (January 2015).  Promoting Effective Argumentative Discourse in Pre-Service Teacher Education. Round-table seminar presented at the Association for Science Teacher Educators (ASTE) International Meeting, Portland, OR.

Smith-Walters, C., & Barker, Heather L.* (January 9, 2015).  Pre-Service Teachers’ Science Attitudes and Self-Efficacy in a Life Science Content Course. Syllabus-sharing presentation at the Association for Science Teacher Educators (ASTE) International Meeting, Portland, OR.

Smith-Walters, C., & Barker, H. L*. (November 7, 2014). Let’s Start an Argument:  Implementing Scientific Argumentation to Enhance Inquiry Lessons. Tennessee Science Teachers’ Association (TSTA)             Professional Development Conference, Murfreesboro, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., Barker, H. L.*, & Brinthaupt, T. M. (March 30, 2014). Pre-service Teachers’ Self-efficacy and Attitudes toward Learning and Teaching Science in a Content-based Biology Course. National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Pittsburgh, PA.

Owens, C. D.*, Smith-Walters, C. (March, 2015). Enhancing Academic Achievement, Nature Appreciation and Activity through the Junior Rangers Program. Research poster Scholar’s Week 2015, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN.

Lohr, M. E.*, Troelstrup, A.*, & Smith-Walters, C. (November, 2014), Preservice Teacher Internet Attitudes. MidSouth Educational Research Association, Knoxville, TN.   

Owens, D. C.*, & Smith-Walters, C. (January, 2015). Pedagogical content Knowledge through and Ecological Lens of Energy Flow: Using the next generation science standards to introduce PCK for science teaching. Association for Science Teacher Educators (ASTE) International Meeting, Portland, OR.

Barker, H.L.*, Smith-Walters, C. (March, 2015). The Influence of Epistemic Beliefs on Pre-Service Teacher Engagement in Argumentative Discourse. Research poster Scholar’s Week 2015, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., Walters, D.  (March, 2013) Forests and Forestry in Tennessee. Tennessee Naturalist Program, Franklin, TN.

Smith-Walters, C. (January, 2014) Teaching and Learning; Seeing the leaves, the trees, and the forest.  Society of American Foresters, Kentucky-Tennessee Chapter. Keynote address 2014 Winter Meeting, Manchester, TN.

Smith-Walters, C.  & Barker, H.L.*, (March, 2014) Pre-service Teachers’ Self-Efficacy and Attitudes toward Learning and Teaching Science in a Content-based Biology Course. National Association Research in Science Teaching (NARST). Portland, OR.

Sadler, K., Smith-Walters, C., Lytle, R. & O’Connor, K. (November, 2013) Oh, Me! Oh My! Meiosis and Mitosis; Strategies to Teach. National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT). Portland, OR.

Barker, H.L.* & Smith-Walters, C. (November, 2013) Effect of a content-based science biology course on the attitudes of pre-service teachers toward teaching and learning science. Tennessee Academy of Science (TAS). Columbia, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., Owens, D.* & Barker, H.L.* (November, 2013). Who Eats Whom? Investigating Food Chains and Food Webs.  Tennessee Science Teachers Association. Murfreesboro, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., Owens, D.* & Barker, H.L.* (November, 2013) Unbar the Door and Enhance Student Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom. Tennessee Science Teachers Association. Murfreesboro, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., Owens, D.* & Bonner, J.* (October, 2013) Educating Students for a Sustainable World. Tennessee Association for the Gifted. Nashville, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., Hargrove, K. (September, 2013), Nature Journaling; Make It and Take It!  Tennessee Environmental Education Association (TEEA), Jamestown, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., Owens, D.* (January, 2013). Teaching outside the box and outside the classroom.  Tennessee.  Middle Tennessee State University Integrated Curriculum Conference. Murfreesboro, TN.

Smith-Walters, C., Barker, H.* (April, 2013). Top tips for review and retention. National Science Teachers Association, San Antonio, TX.

Smith-Walters, C., Ball, M. (May, 2012). Connecting PLT and STEM using biomimicry as a focus. National PLT Conference, Deadwood, SD.

Smith-Walters, C., Barker, H.* (November, 2012). Top tools for teaching. Tennessee Science Teachers Association State Conference. Murfreesboro, TN. 

Smith-Walters, C., Barker, H.* (November, 2012). We’re all in this together: Symbiotic relationships in our own backyard. Tennessee Science Teachers Association State Conference, Murfreesboro, TN. 

Smith-Walters, C. Barker, H.* (November, 2012). Top tips & tools: Improving retention, review and results in your classroom.  School Science and Mathematics Association, Birmingham, AL.

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Awards

  • 2012 - Trails and Trillium Tribute Award presented to the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Naturalist Program by Friends of South Cumberland State Park (a founding member, sit on the Board of Directors, and serve as treasurer of TNP)
  • 2012 Tennessee Academy of Science: Fellow 2011 National PLT Educator of the Year
  • 2010 MTSU Foundation Award for Excellence in Public Service
  • 2010 Tennessee PLT Facilitator of the Year
  • 2008-2009 President: TN Acade...
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  • 2012 - Trails and Trillium Tribute Award presented to the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Naturalist Program by Friends of South Cumberland State Park (a founding member, sit on the Board of Directors, and serve as treasurer of TNP)
  • 2012 Tennessee Academy of Science: Fellow 2011 National PLT Educator of the Year
  • 2010 MTSU Foundation Award for Excellence in Public Service
  • 2010 Tennessee PLT Facilitator of the Year
  • 2008-2009 President: TN Academy of Science
  • 2008-09 Award of Excellence for Educational Programming (MTSU CEE) from the TN Association of Museums for work with the TN State Museum on a series of public programs, teacher's workshops, and a newspaper insert publication which accompanied the museum's exhibition, The River Inside: John Guider's Amazing Journey.
  • 2009 Silver Telly Award to the MTSU CEE for the "Empower Hour" a video focusing on engaging teens in reducing water pollution, was produced for the MTSU WaterWorks! Program and was selected from over 13,000 entries.
  • 2007 Program Chair: TN Academy of Science
  • 2006 DISTINGUISHED SERVICE, Tennessee Environmental Education Association
  • 2005-2006 EXCELLENCE IN SERVICE, MTSU College of Basic & Applied Sciences
  • 2005-2006 MTSU SPECIAL PROJECTS AWARD, MTSU Foundation & College of Basic & Applied Sciences
  • 2005-present EDITORIAL BOARD, Ranger Rick Magazine, National Wildlife Federation
  • 2004-2005 EXCELLENCE IN GRANTSMANSHIP, MTSU College of Basic & Applied Sciences
  • 2003-present GOVERNOR'S COMMITTEE: KEEP TN BEAUTIFUL (3 yr appt.)
  • 2003-2006 EDITORIAL BOARD: Journal of College Science Teaching, National Science Teachers Association
  • 2001 TN GOVERNOR'S AWARD CONSERVATION AND STEWARDSHIP, TN Department of Environment and Conservation
  • 2000 MTSU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching, MTSU Foundation
  • 2000 Project Learning Tree Service Award, Oklahoma Project Learning Tree
  • 1999 MTSU Foundation Award for Outstanding Public Service, MTSU Foundation
  • 1999 Outstanding Service to Environmental Education, TN Env. Ed. Assn.
  • 1998 Science Educator of the Year/Higher Education, TN Science Teachers Association
  • 1994 Project WILD Director's Award of Recognition, National Project WILD
  • 1993 Forest Resource Award, TN Forestry Association
  • 1993 Excellence in EE Award, TN Environmental Education Association
  • 1992 President's Environment and Conservation Challenge Award presented by President George Bush Sr.
  • 1991 SAMAB Award to conduct teacher forestry education training in Sweden
  • 1991 Certificate of Appreciation, Metro Council Directors of Volunteers
  • 1990 Conservation Educator of the Year, Tennessee Conservation League
  • 1990 Earth Day Make a Difference Award, TN Division of Forestry, District IV
  • 1988 State of Excellence Award, Oklahoma Governor Henry Bellmon
  • 1987 Outstanding Educator of the Year, Soil & Water Conservation Society, Oklahoma Chapter
  • 1986 Oklahoma Project Learning Tree - Outstanding New Program in the Nation, American Forest Council

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Creative Activity

Reviewer for

NSTA Recommends and reviews appear in three of NSTA’s Journals: The Science Teacher, Science Scope, and Science and Children

Scholastic publishing; occasional reviewer of various student centered science publications